Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors are getting ready to unleash Scottie Barnes and the rest of their 2021 NBA Draft class on the league with the regular season approaching, but that has done little to stop the Raptors mock draft experts from envisioning what this front office will do in a loaded 2022 class.
Picking players like Barnes and filling out the roster with the likes of Precious Achiuwa and Svi Mykhailiuk shows that Toronto is all in on the positionless movement, and they’ll likely recalibrate their draft approach in years to come to add more players that fit that very unique mold.
With Toronto expected by most to either barely slip into the postseason or be on the outskirts of the lottery, the Raptors will not be short on quality young options that will help bolster depth. One of the first 2022 mocks out there has Toronto again looking to get better on defense.
The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, who envisioned Toronto with the No. 10 overall pick, thinks that Ujiri might select Arizona wing Bennedict Mathurin in his first mock draft (subscription required). Considering his background, college success, and style of play, he could be absolutely perfect for what Toronto wants to do on both ends of the floor.
Toronto Raptors mock draft: Would Masai Ujiri pick Bennedict Mathurin?
Mathurin, who Vecenie believes could’ve been picked late in the first round if he declared in 2021, is a Montreal native, giving Ujiri the option to select a native Canadian in consecutive drafts following the addition of Dalano Banton in the second round of this year’s draft. Stylistically, he’s a perfect fit for Toronto.
Mathurin, who averaged 10.8 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Wildcats last year, stands 6-6 and has a 6-9 wingspan. His defense might be the most intriguing part of his game, as he can lockdown guards while taking on challenges from much bigger players despite a skinny frame that needs added muscle.
Rather than drafting another raw shooter like Banton or Barnes, Mathurin shot just under 42% from 3-point range last season. He might not need as much development time on that end during his first season in the league, as he could come right in and be trusted to knock down open 3-pointers in a very high-octane offense.
While the Raptors won’t become the Bennedict Mathruin show on the offensive side, he could become a quality shooting guard with starter potential right out of the gate that fits in with their directive to get younger, longer, and more versatile. If he’s available, bringing the Quebec-born wing to Toronto seems like a dream scenario.